Richard Bachman is expected to start in goal tonight as the Dallas Stars try to extend their winning streak to six games against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. It would be the third straight start for Bachman, who is filling in for the injured Kari Lehtonen (groin).
“I haven’t talked to Kari, he wanted to finish his workout, but Bacher is ready to go,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “If there is a change it will happen late, but I don’t foresee one.”
Bachman is 3-0-0 with a 1.08 goals against average and .968 save percentage since taking over for Lehtonen late in the first period of last Tuesday’s game against Los Angeles. He was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week today for his performance.
“Being confident and being recognized is a big part of this time of year,” said Gulutzan. “We want to be confident going in, we’re a confident group. It’s good to have a guy recognized and it gives him a boost.”
Cristopher Nilstorp is expected to back up Bachman tonight since Lehtonen, who did skate this morning, is not expected to be ready to go.
“With that type of injury, you don’t want to mess around with it,’’ Gulutzan said. “If he’s not good to go, he’s not good to go. It’s real black and white.’’
The Stars will meet the Blackhawks for the first time since that March 16 game in Dallas when the Blackhawks plastered the Stars, 8-1. The game is still lingering in the mind of Stars players and provides some motivation for tonight.
“For sure,” said Stars center Jamie Benn. “It was a pretty embarrassing night for us, especially in our home building. We want to come out tonight and have a strong effort. We’ll see what happens.”
“It really was embarrassing for us,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “We understood that. It was in front of our hometown fans, too. We owe them a little bit of revenge. Anytime you are in that top spot, everybody wants to be in that top spot. We’ve been looking at this game for a while now, and it’s a big point of focus for us with a couple games left.”
The Stars are expected to roll out the same group of forwards and defensemen they’ve used the past few games.
Stars projected lineup